[CROSSDEV] Masar Ibrahim al Khalil: a trail to discover the legendary Palestinian hospitality
Along the Masar Ibrahim al Khalil trail you don’t only hike, you also discover the history, civilization, and culture of Palestine while meeting new people as well.
Extending the Masar Ibrahim al Khalil trail to reach every Palestinian village and city from the north to the south is a dream coming true through the CROSSDEV Project, which will contribute to the realization of a 50 km extension of the trail connecting Beit Mirsim to Battir via a new segment.
Between Beit Misrim and Battir, CROSSDEV will be working in collaboration with 16 local communities who will have the opportunity to make the most of their peculiar customs, traditions and generous hospitality.
Despite the unique landscapes and characters of the area, the local communities are currently used to less than 100 tourists per year. CROSSDEV goal is to reach 3000 tourists per year.
DISCOVERING THE NEW SEGMENT OF THE TRAIL
On the earliest tours of the trail’s development stage, we were fascinated by the beautiful nature. Over the next few days we also discovered precious archaeological sites. Among them we found tombs for a Royal family from the Roman period and a Baptism font from the Byzantine period.
We saw a unique opportunity: developing these historical places to attract the public working in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, local authorities, and, of course, the residents.
MEETING THE LOCALS
Every time we hold a public meeting to present the project, the locals are enthused and happy, sure about the enormous benefit their families and the whole area could achieve.
“We are ready to help with efforts, ideas and people to bring this project to light.”
This is what one of the local mayors told us immediately after a presentation.
When you hear feedback like this, you know you are doing well, and the project is on the right track.
WORKING WITH THE LOCALS
MIAK is the CROSSDEV partner taking care of the work along the trail. Their efforts over the time have been outstanding.
One for all: thanks to the collaboration with local institutions who work for people with disabilities, a special 5 km segment within the new extension of the trail is now accessible to people with disability. This is an absolute first in the Middle East.
The attention to all kinds of visitors is also crucial to the activities: most of the trail is safe not only for adults, but also for children to hike and learn.
CROSSDEV also assists in empowering local women to enhance their hospitality skills so to be more qualified to run women centres and home stays. This will be important to help them lead an essential role in their communities and help their families to raise their economic standards.
The youth are also taking on a big part of CROSSDEV conducting awareness campaigns towards sustainable community-based tourism and environmental issues and establishing small businesses.
It is amazing to see these communities promoting each other and becoming ONE beautiful thing because they believe in something. In the words of Helen Keller: “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.